Colorado Avalanche Forward Ryan O'Reilly signs offer sheet with the Calgary Flames and the Colorado Avalanche match it. Photo Courtesy USA Today Sports.
DENVER - Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly's contract dispute ended quickly, with help from another team.
The Calgary Flames announced Thursday that they had signed the Avalanche's leading 2011-12 scorer to an offer sheet. Thursday evening, the Avalanche matched.
It's a two-year, $10 million contract, with annual salaries of $3.5 million this year and $6.5 million in 2013-14. The higher amount at the end means that the Avalanche would have offer him $6.5 million to retain his rights in the summer of 2014. His cap hit is $5 million.
Colorado said the notification had arrived Thursday afternoon. It had seven days to match or accept the compensation of a first- and a third-round pick. It took only hours.
Generally, signing a player to an offer sheet is an exercise in futility because teams usually match. Last summer, the Nashville Predators matched the Philadelphia Flyers' heavily front-loaded 14-year, $110 million offer sheet to defenseman Shea Weber, though they took the full seven days.
The Anaheim Ducks, however, didn't match the Edmonton Oilers' five-year, $21.25 million offer sheet to Dustin Penner in 2007 because they thought it was too high.
O'Reilly led the Avalanche last season with 37 assists and 55 points.
He's coming out of his entry-level contract and had 26 points in each of his first two seasons in the league before last season's breakthrough for a total of 107 points.
By comparison, Avalanche center Matt Duchene scored 150 points during his entry-level contract, though only 28 last season because of injuries. He got a two-year, $7 million contract from the Avalanche during the summer. His jumping-off point in 2014 would be $3.75 million.
O'Reilly played in the Kontinental Hockey League during the lockout and stayed after it ended. Both he and Metallurg Magnitogorsk agreed to terminate his contract on Jan. 24, five days after the season began.
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